OST Professional Spotlight
Prime Time Resources Help Long-time Afterschool Professional Reach Her Educational Goals
Prime Time would like to take this opportunity to recognize Jamora Matthews, director at Sacred Heart Afterschool Program, for her educational achievements. An 11-year out-of-school time professional, Jamora Matthews uses opportunities provided by Prime Time Palm Beach County to reach her educational goals. Jamora started taking classes in the college credit pathway through Prime Time’s scholarship program to expand her knowledge on working with youth and to learn how to be a more effective leader.
“It was important to me that I understand the needs of youth so that I can make an impact in their lives and help them become the best version of themselves they can be.” – Jamora Matthews, director at Sacred Heart Afterschool Program
Jamora first completed her Youth Development College Credit Certificate and then continued toward her Associate Degree in Human Services-Youth Development, graduating magna cum laude. Not stopping there, she then completed a credit certificate in Child Care Center Management.
Jamora credits her role as the director of Sacred Heart Afterschool Program to the education she received in youth development. She is confident in her abilities to effectively coach and lead her team, as well as teach the youth to become strong leaders in the community. She is currently in the process of earning her bachelor’s degree in Human Services at Palm Beach State College and is projected to graduate in spring 2022.
Through Career Advising and Scholarships, Afterschool Professional Makes Advances in Her Career and Education
In the spring of 2021, Delmi Mauricio, an eight-year afterschool professional currently working at My First Steps Preschool, successfully completed the coursework for a Director Credential to allow her to move into a leadership role when working at any afterschool program.
“The benefits in obtaining my education is a better position at work, but most importantly I have better knowledge to help youth.” – Delmi Mauricio, Afterschool Practitioner
Prime Time scholarships gave Delmi the opportunity to successfully complete her Staff Credential by taking courses at Palm Beach State College, the Foundations of Advancing Youth Development Principles (AYD) and the School Age Professional Certificate. She didn’t stop there;, with the School Age Professional Certificate under her belt, she continued her climb to success by completing coursework for the Director Credential in the spring of 2021.
“Taking classes has helped me so much in my current job because I have learned to create lesson plans, organize my classroom to be age appropriate, find activities for the youth, and also create communication with the youth in my class.” – Delmi Mauricio, Afterschool Practitioner
Out-of-School Time Practitioner Turns Her Love for Children into Purposeful Career
Ashley knew she wanted to grow in the afterschool field and credits her director for motivating her to pursue her education and further develop her skills and purpose in life. Ashley Pierce has always had a love for children. In August 2017, she was working in the school cafeteria at the Conservatory of North Palm Beach where she knew everyone by name and would use her break time between meals to entertain the children because she enjoyed seeing them smile. It was easy to see the impact Pierce was making the lives of the youth attending.
“I figured that if I better myself, I can expand my purpose when it comes to helping children.” – Ashley Pierce, Activity Leader, The Conservatory North Palm Beach Afterschool Program,
Ashley completed her Youth Development College Credit Certificate in 2020 by taking advantage of scholarships and the College Credit Pathway offered through Prime Time. Through these opportunities, Ashley was able to better understand how to manage her afterschool program and work with children when they experience different types of emotions.
She not only values her educational experience for the lessons learned, but also the greater sense of community she has found.
“An added benefit was meeting people who feel the equal amount of passion I do for this field and being able to share tips and helpful information.” – Ashley Pierce, Activity Leader, The Conservatory North Palm Beach Afterschool Program, pictured left
Since completing her Youth Development College Credit Certificate, Ashley has been promoted to an activity leader and has chosen to continue her education by pursuing an Associate Degree in Human Services-Youth Development.
Ashley was able to turn her love for making children and youth smile into a purposeful career as she continues to grow in the afterschool field.
Afterschool Director Says Opportunities Offered Through Prime Time Has Changed Her Forever
In 2013, Derricka Williamson began working in the out-of-school time (OST) field when she began taking advantage of scholarships and using the College Credit Pathway offered through Prime Time to give her the direction she needed to begin reaching goals that allowed her to move from certificate achievements to degrees.
“This experience has changed me forever and I will continue to share with my peers the opportunities that are offered through Prime Time.” – Derricka Williamson, Afterschool Director, Benoist Farms Elementary Afterschool Program
To help retain dedicated and passionate out-of-school time professionals, Prime Time provides career advising, educational pathways, professional development trainings, scholarships, incentives, communities of practice and more. Motivated by the ACHIEVE OST Incentive Award Program, she graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in Supervision and Management in December 2020 from Palm Beach State College.
“Without the financial support through ACHIEVE, I would not have been able to afford the costs to achieve my bachelor’s degree.” – Derricka Williamson
During her educational journey, Derricka learned why positive interactions are so crucial in youth development and its long-term impact. Children can have disadvantages based on location or access to certain resources, which can lead to gaps in their youth development. This knowledge provided her with the ability to see the value of incorporating enriching activities throughout a child’s entire day and that social and emotional learning is as important as academic learning.
“I have the ability to witness students’ growth in untraditional capacities, this has become my greatest motivator. Over the years, I have learned so much from the youth in regards to resilience in this fast-moving world. It has always been important to me to continue to see the world from a child-like perspective and taking moments to find the wonder in just living like I see the kids do every day.” – Derricka Williamson
Afterschool Director at For the Children Teen Center Used Prime Time’s Career Pathway and Scholarships to Jumpstart a Higher Education
Professional development is vital to the success of afterschool programs. Effective professional development enhances afterschool program quality by facilitating staff performance and knowledge; in addition, professional development is vital for improving student learning outcomes (Bouffard & Little, 2004; Hall & Surr, 2005; Joyce & Showers, 2002).
Afterschool director at For the Children Teen Center Latoya Taylor has worked in the out-of-school time field for four years. She enjoys working in out-of-school time field because it allows her “to be a mentor and role model to youth and she gets to see them grow and become successful.”
Motivated to earn her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services, Latoya feels this is the next step in her journey in life. Prime Time’s scholarship program jump started Latoya’s educational journey when she began the non-credit pathway that allowed her to complete the 40-Hour School-Age Certification, School-Age Professional Certificate and Director Credential. After completing these certifications, she moved to the credit pathway where she obtained the Youth Development College Credit Certificate and most recently, graduated with her Associate Degree in Human Services-Youth Development.
– Latoya Taylor, Afterschool Director, For the Children
Completing these classes opened several windows of opportunity, including promotion from group leader to her current position as a director. She was able to qualify for Prime Time’s ACHIEVE Out-of-School Time Incentive Award program, which was “life changing” as it assisted her with basic needs and allowed her to obtain a new computer, which she needed for school.
Congratulations Latoya for all that you have accomplished! We are proud of the hard work and dedication that you have put toward your education and the out-of-school time field. Prime Time is excited to continue on this journey with you as you work toward completing your bachelor’s degree!
Afterschool Director Takes Advantage of Prime Time Scholarships to Reach Her Dreams
Northmore Elementary Afterschool Director Kanishia Mortin always dreamed of the day that she would be the first in her immediate family to go to college and graduate. Her dream was temporarily put on hold as she writes, “of course, life happens!”
After working for the School District of Palm Beach County for the past 17 years, Kanishia’s dream has finally come true.
“When I began to work in the field of out-of-school time, I never thought that I would be afforded the opportunity to continue my education. The year 2020 brought on so many unexpected events, but I am forever grateful for this one…I graduated! Not only did I do so, but my son did too!”
By taking advantage of Prime Time’s Professional Development Scholarship opportunities, Kanishia was able to graduate from Palm Beach State College after completing her A.S Degree in Human Services with a Youth Development Concentration. She reflects on the importance of growing professionally and personally and thanks those that have helped her along the way.
“This is not the end, but the beginning as I continue working to earn my degree in Supervision and Management. One of my goals is to inspire young people to never give up on their dreams! Keep pushing! Thank you Prime Time and partners for helping to make my dreams come true!“
City of West Palm Beach Afterschool Director Graduates College with Help from Prime Time
Congratulations to Frank Verney, afterschool director at City of West Palm Beach, Coleman Park Community Center who has completed his final class for his Associate of Sciences Degree in Human services – Youth Development!
“It has been a battle to get this degree and after facing my math fears I did it. It’s never too late to get your degree and better yourself. I am now enrolled in the bachelors program and looking to graduate from that by the end of 2021. I am looking forward to what doors will open and where my journey will take me.”
“I want to send a huge shout out to Prime Time Palm Beach County, Inc. for making this dream a reality. Without your support this would have not happen.” – Frank Verney
Frank was able to earn his degree while taking advantage of scholarship opportunities provided by Prime Time. We are so proud of all that he has and continues to accomplish in the OST field!
Dedicated to Improving Herself and
the Environment Around Her
Joeniseley Mathurin, afterschool director at Achievement Centers for Children and Families at Pine Grove Elementary School, is now a graduate of Palm Beach State College, earning a Youth Development College Credit Certificate and Associate Degree in Human Services-Youth Development. Joeniseley is continuing her path to a higher education with hopes of graduating this fall with a Bachelor’s Degree in Supervision and Management from Palm Beach State College.
Joeniseley began working for afterschool in 2015 after graduating from high school. She knew that she wanted to have a career working with children, but she just didn’t know exactly what path she wanted to take. Joeniseley found out about the youth development pathways offered at Palm Beach State College and Prime Time’s scholarship program and applied. She thought it would be a great experience to further understand the development of the children with who she works After taking a few classes, Joeniseley fell in love with the content and decided to continue her goal of a higher education. The classes began changing the way she worked with children; she has gained patience and an understanding that every child is different. As she continued her professional development goals, Joeniseley went from afterschool practitioner to now director!
Receiving her Associate’s Degree has required a lot of work and effort but she was dedicated to improving herself and the environment around her. The classes have provided opportunities for her to connect with many teachers, afterschool directors and children who have given her insight to how rewarding the out-of-school time field is.
Congratulations Joeniseley on your accomplishments! We are excited and motivated by your passion for the field, the youth and your constant desire to grow and learn! We are honored to be a part of your journey.
A True Professional in the Out-of-School
Youth Development Specialist at City of Greenacres Youth Programs, Amrita Rampersad, has been working in the out-of-school time field for more than four years and enjoys being able to inspire youth, expand their learning and help them to experience new things and grow as individuals. She enjoys being able to have an impact on youth and change their day from negative to positive as well as give back to her community.
Amrita started taking classes in the youth development pathway through Palm Beach State College and the Prime Time scholarship program in 2015. She started with the 40-Hour School Age Certification and then later continued onto the credit pathway. Amrita chose to pursue her education because working with youth is her passion and she wanted to continue to sharpen her skills and expertise in the youth development field. Amrita credits the courses with assisting her in understanding what it means to be a true professional in the out-of-school time field, teaching her organizational and leadership skills and increasing her ability to communicate effectively with staff, parents and youth.
Through her hard work, Amrita has obtained the 40-Hour School Age Certification, School Age Professional Certificate, Youth Development College Credit Certificate, Associate in Arts Degree and Associate Degree in Human Services-Youth Development. She is currently working on her Bachelor’s Degree in Supervision and Management and has only two classes left to complete her degree.
Congratulations Amrita for all that you have accomplished, we are proud of the hard work and dedication that you have put towards your education and the out-of-school time field!
Moving Up with Confidence
Working with youth is something Katie Wilke has always known she wanted to do. She has been working in the out-of-school time field for five years and loves watching the children grow into amazing people and being able to have a positive impact on them.
Director at West Gate Elementary Afterschool Program, Katie, decided to take classes in the youth development pathway at Palm Beach State College and utilized the scholarship program through Prime Time because she wanted to improve her skills. She started taking classes in 2016 and soon after, had obtained her Youth Development College Credit Certificate. She did not stop there, and continued to take classes towards her Associate Degree in Human Services-Youth Development. She recently completed this degree in the summer of 2018 and now feels confident that she has the knowledge and resources to be the best she can for the youth. Additionally, these accomplishments have helped her to move up in the field, from her initial position of Counselor to Activity Leader, Assistant Director and now Director of an afterschool program! Katie is now working towards her Bachelor’s Degree in Supervision and Management while working.
Congratulations Katie on your many achievements, we are very proud of you and excited to see what comes next!